Reel Life October 2023
- West Coast
Right: Madeline Castle with her first-ever trout caught over the weekend. (Photo Adrian Brears)
The 2023-24 sports fishing season is underway
As of October 1st, the highly anticipated start to the freshwater sports fishing season has begun.
Two weeks into the new season, and there have already been some fantastic catches.
The 2023-24 season is off to a good start with warmer than average temperatures increasing fish feeding activity, directly influencing angling success.
Slightly elevated river flows also increase the catchability of trout, so families out making the most of the school holidays will have reaped the rewards of some very naïve early season fish.
Keen angler Jimmy 'the fish' Teen getting amongst the opening day excitement on a West Coast lake fishery. (Photo Dean Kelly)
The timing could not be better to give fishing a go, as the lower reaches of rivers fish exceptionally well in spring with the seasonal influx of bait fish increasing trout activity.
Lakes are also a fantastic early-season option, especially during periods of wet weather when rivers may be unfishable, but the lakes fish their best.
For those heading inland, the start of the new fishing season brings the opening of the headwaters and spring creeks to fishing that have been rested from angling over winter.
Looking beyond the early season opportunities and into the summer, the season has some very positive prospects.
NIWA has confirmed that we are now experiencing El Niño conditions and are likely to do so through the summer.
For anglers, this is great news, with ideal river flows and water temperatures improving the fishing.
Water temperature is especially important in our lake fisheries, such as the West Coast's most popular fishery, Lake Brunner but even more so for our smaller lakes.
Another incredibly positive outcome from El Niño conditions is the cooling of sea temperatures, which will help salmon numbers bounce back after three unfavourable years of La Niña conditions.
The annual Lake Brunner Fishing Competition is taking place from December 1st to the 3rd, and as part of it, Fish & Game are running an educational family fishing skills and information session.
The skills and information session will be held on Saturday 2nd of December, at 2 p.m. at the Moana Boat Ramp.
Dan Scoltock and Bailey the dog out fishing in the rain.(Photo Sharron Scoltock)
This event is for any angler who wants to increase their success but especially new anglers and younger anglers (that must be accompanied by an adult).
All fishing methods will be discussed, and advice will be given as well as the opportunity to ask a local Fish & Game officer about other spots in the region.
If you cannot make the event but are after a few tips, click here to check out the Lake Brunner Fishing Secret Video.
Basics of Fly Fishing Course at the Taramakau River SH6 Bridge south side access point. From 10 am till 2 pm on Sunday the 10th of December.
We are running a session to teach all the fly fishing basics - covering everything from casting and fishing techniques to setting up your rod and recommended beginner fishing locations.
The event will be run by West Coast field officer Baylee Kersten with potential assistance from a few other experienced anglers if there is high attendance.
Please bring a packed lunch and a deck chair for a great day riverside.
The event will be weather-dependent, so be sure to check in the day prior for a postponement.
Hope to see you out there!
Baylee Kersten, West Coast Fish & Game Officer.